Hulu's crackdown on international access has expanded to include popular VPN service Witopia.
It's human nature that people always want what they can't have - which is why there's so much interest around the world in accessing the US-only Hulu site. Hulu offers a range of television shows for streaming, including Family Guy, The Daily Show and House along with a few full length movies.
Hulu, iTunes and BitTorrent
To be honest, most of it will eventually come to Australian television and the rest can easily be downloaded from iTunes store (US or Australian), and some people are also using BitTorrent to watch these shows, but it's still cool to be able to watch it online via Hulu.
|Family Guy on Hulu: the popular streaming TV site has blocked access via Witopia|
The VPN brigade
If you're outside the US, the easiest method for accessing Hulu that many people are discussing online, is using a US-based VPN, which tricks Hulu into thinking their computer is within the US.h Initially Hulu started cracking down on free VPN services such as Hotspot Shield, but now it's turned its attention to Witopia - which costs $40 or $US60 per year but offers a faster, more secure and more reliable service than its free competitors. Initially Witopia's LA gateway remained unaffected, but now Hulu has blocked this as well.
Witopia, CloakBox and Hulu
A few weeks ago I wrote about Witopia's CloakBox router. The company is taking advantage of the issue by marketing a product that makes it easy to hook up every device in a lounge room to a VPN. For those previously mentioned Hulu fans, the CloakBox might not be such as good deal now, although these people can still access US and UK-only content on plenty of other services like YouTube, Joost and the BBC's iPlayer. Of course these services may follow Hulu's lead and start blocking popular VPN services.
Where to from here for Hulu access outside the US?
Publicly Witopia is saying very little about the Hulu situation although, from what I've seen on the forums, Witopia is trying to help affected customers. I'm a Witopia subscriber but I haven't sent in a help request yet. Even if I did, and I was supplied a solution, I'd obviously be reluctant to post it online lest I tip off Hulu to any possible workaround Witopia may have discovered.
Hulu access has raised Witopia's profile and gained Hulu's attention, but it's likely that Hulu fans will also try a few other VPN services too. I won't mention any names so as not to draw attention to them but, as always, these people will like use Google to find them.
The cat and mouse game continues.
Also in this series, Picking the Perfect Home Entertainment Box:
Part 9: What does Windows 7 offer in the lounge room?
Part 8: forget scratched DVDs, build a video jukebox instead
Part 7: Is Foxtel Download worth getting excited about?
Part 6: Is interference destroying your digital lounge room?
Part 5: Do you need a Freeview sticker?
Part 4: What's the best way to record your favourite shows?
Part 3: Networking your TV, PVR, console, set top box
Part 2: Creating a P2P season pass
Part 1: Internet video on the PS3
Buying a TV? Also see our series How to Pick a Great Flat Screen TV, And Not Get Sucked In By Marketing Hype